In a recent Marine Safety Alert, the Coast Guard identified a potential hazard that could prevent proper donning of some Type I (offshore) personal flotation devices in an emergency.
In affected models, the chest strap was incorrectly threaded through the fixed D-ring that the strap should clip to when worn. Instead of the strap falling away, the clip end of the strap could snag in the D-ring, preventing the wearer from wrapping it around him- or herself.
PFDs known to be affected are Kent Adult Model 8830 (USCG Approval Number 160.055/184/0) in Lot 53W manufactured in October 2006 and Kent Child Model 8820 (USCG Approval Number 160.055/150/0) in Lot 012T manufactured in March 2008.
The Coast Guard strongly recommends that all life jackets be checked for proper strap routing. Completely unwrap the primary strap to ensure it is free and adjustable. The strap must not be threaded through the fixed D-ring.
If routing is satisfactory, wrap the strap around the life jacket and clip it to the fixed D-ring for storage. If the strap is incorrectly threaded through the fixed D-ring, carefully remove the snap hook assembly from the strap, pull the strap out of the fixed D-ring, and reattach the snap hook assembly.
As part of general preventive maintenance, vessel owners and operators are encouraged to verify that their PFDs are in fully serviceable condition by inspecting the straps, components, fabric and flotation material. Replace PFDs with significant deterioration or poorly functioning hardware.